My Poem Writing Process Part 2

Often, once I am struck with an idea and kind of have a sense of where I want to go with a piece, I begin to let it ruminate in my thoughts, do word associations, writing exercises, more free-write to see if any thing else needs to come out and be said.  One of my favorite things to do for inspiration is to look to my mentors for guidance.  My love for poetry began long before I began writing, and there are so many poets that have left powerful imprints on my evolution as a writer and artist.  Searching in the annals of my memory and remembering any references or ideas about the life of an artist one person immediately comes to mind.  One of my favorite poets and teachers is Rainer Maria Rilke.  In his third letter in the book “Letters To A Young Poet” in which he is corresponding to one of his students over a few years span about life and art and poetry, he says this about being an artist.

Works of art are of an infinite solitude, and no means of approach is so useless as criticism. Only love can touch and hold them and be fair to them. Always trust yourself and your own feeling, as opposed to argumentation, discussions, or introductions of that sort; if it turns out that you are wrong, then the natural growth of your inner life will eventually guide you to other insights. Allow your judgments their own silent, undisturbed development, which, like all progress, must come from deep within and cannot be forced or hastened. Everything is gestation and then birthing. To let each impression and each embryo of a feeling come to completion, entirely in itself, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one’s own understanding, and with deep humility and patience to wait for the hour when a new clarity is born: this alone is what it means to live as an artist: in understanding as in creating.

In this there is no measuring with time, a year doesn’t matter, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast. I learn it every day of my life, learn it with pain I am grateful for: patience is everything!

With this inspiration and guidance in my mind and heart, I let this speak and inform my writing as I take it to another step in its development.


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